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Displays Television The Almighty Buck Entertainment Hardware Technology

Slashdot Asks: Are Curved TVs Worth It? (cnet.com) 179

New submitter cherishjoo shares a report written by David Katzmaier via CNET: When the first curved TVs appeared more than three years ago I asked whether they were a gimmick. As a TV reviewer I had to give the curve a fighting chance, however, so I took a curved Samsung home to live with my family for awhile, in addition to subjecting it to a full CNET review. In the end, I answered my own question with the headline "Great picture quality, but the curved screen is a flat-out gimmick." Since then most of the video geeks I know, including just about everybody I hear from on Twitter, Facebook and article comments, pooh-poohs curved TV screens as a useless distraction. A curved TV takes the traditional flat screen and bends it along a gentle arc. The edges end up a bit closer, ostensibly providing a slight wraparound effect. Curved TV makers, citing huge curved screens like IMAX, call their sets more "immersive" than their flat counterparts, but in my experience that claim doesn't hold water at in-home (as opposed to theatrical) screen sizes and viewing distances. The only real image-quality benefit I saw to the curve was a reduction in reflections in some cases. That benefit wasn't worth the slight geometric distortions introduced by the curve, not to mention its awkwardness when hung on the wall. That said, the curve doesn't ruin an otherwise good picture. In TVs, assuming similar prices, curved vs. flat boils down to a choice of aesthetics. As Katzmaier mentioned, curved TVs have been on the market for several years now, and while manufacturers continue to produce them, the verdict on whether or not the pros outweigh the cons is still murky. Here's our question for you: Are curved televisions worth the inflated price tag? If you are in the market for a new TV, does the fact that the display is curved entice you or steer you away?
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Slashdot Asks: Are Curved TVs Worth It?

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  • pointless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @08:48PM (#53926789) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't buy one. I can't imagine it being particularly better to watch. Given the same $$ I'll spend on higher resolution and framerate over curved.

    • Re:pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @09:00PM (#53926839)

      Yeah, I'm waiting for this fad to pass. Anyone who doesn't live by themselves is better served by a flat display. And those that do live alone get a marginal benefit, at best. Certainly not worth the aesthetic annoyance of how it sits against the wall, nor the fact that it's subpar if you ever do get someone to watch things with you.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Friends of mine had a very, very early projector TV that had a large box about the size of a dishwasher housing a three-element projector that sat on the floor, with steel square-tubes that led to the wall, where an upright set of steel square-tubes had a curved parabolic screen mounted to them, that at the dead-center was exactly ninety degrees perpendicular to the projector. Even back then, the curve screen was not desirable, it was necessary in order to get the image to look right on a screen the better
        • All the early projection TVs that I have seen had curved screens. That includes the Advent VideoBeam (the one that started it all), the Kloss NovaBeam (the new company Henry Kloss started after Advent threw him out), and a couple of models of those clunky one-piece things that some Japanese companies made. It makes the optical design simpler, since every point on the screen is the same distance from the lens. Those screens weren't just curved on one axis like the curved LCD and OLED TVs; the corners were be

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Higher resolution, frame rate, curve, 3D, fuck it all, more power, more power, more power. Lots of ram, user installable OS, play right on the TV no console, mass storage, when the TV screen is off it might as well be a file server. Really, really, big screen all in one Android at a pinch, preferably Linux or Steam OS or even Mac OS. Fuck the pretty picture I want more power, more ram, more storage and definitely no fixed camera or microphone (removable with manual on off switch). Ohh and a tablet tied to t

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @10:43PM (#53927277)

        Tool time!

      • I want my TV to do one job - display the image in the best quality possible for the given input (VHS or laserdisc should look the best it can, 1080p should look the best it can) with good black levels (like to watch movies with room lights off), accurate color reproduction and no dimming on bright images.(ABL).

        I do not need:
        1. smart functions or OS - I can connect a computer with a OS I want to it.
        2. good speakers or amplifier - I have a decent sound system.
        3. Low power consumption - I rarely watch movies a

    • I'd buy 5 tvs, and mount them all to the wall and give them a slight curve for the same money.

    • If they actually shot video for a curved screen it might matter, but that's the point- nothing is. Not only that, the issue didn't even occur to the marketers.
    • I wouldn't buy one.

      They would have to pay me to buy one.

    • If you like it. If you can use the feature immediately even with old content and if it won't create a compatibility war. Go ahead and get it if you can afford it and you think it is worth the price.
      Asking if one should get a luxury item will just get a bunch of no from people who didn't get it and a few yes from the ones who did.
      At this moment curved screens, 4/5k displays, uber video cards.... are luxury items that most can do without but we all want to splurge on something nice if we can.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Duh.

  • by gweilo8888 ( 921799 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @08:53PM (#53926817)
    Curved monitors do make sense for the desktop PC, where you're sitting very close to the screen. They make no sense whatsoever in the living room, though. You're far too far away for the curve to make any noticeable difference to viewing *other* than making it even harder to avoid reflections. Don't buy one, they're idiotic.
    • Curved monitors do make sense for the desktop PC, where you're sitting very close to the screen. They make no sense whatsoever in the living room, though. You're far too far away for the curve to make any noticeable difference

      It's a scalable situation. If the TV occupies a similar viewing angle to your monitor, then curvature would have just the same impact. As I type this, my laptop's screen occupies about the same amount of my view as my further-away TV.

      That doesn't mean I don't also think it's a bit of a pointless fad, though.

      • I'm well aware of that. I'm also well aware that nobody except perhaps the 1%ers and those living in shoe boxes will be sitting close enough or own a TV large enough for that scalability to make a lick of difference.
      • Curved monitors do make sense for the desktop PC, where you're sitting very close to the screen. They make no sense whatsoever in the living room, though. You're far too far away for the curve to make any noticeable difference

        It's a scalable situation. If the TV occupies a similar viewing angle to your monitor, then curvature would have just the same impact. As I type this, my laptop's screen occupies about the same amount of my view as my further-away TV.

        That doesn't mean I don't also think it's a bit of a pointless fad, though.

        It's a percentage thing. The distance you are sitting from the screen and the amount of curvature are much smaller relatively. The relative distance of say a two inch curvature is much more at two feet than it is at 10 feet. At 10 feet that much curvature makes it flat for all practical purposes.

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )

        If the TV occupies a similar viewing angle to your monitor, then curvature would have just the same impact.

        That's not really the case, or even the recommendation. The recommendation for seating distance is 1.5-2.5x the width of the TV. Let's go on the high side of that and say 1.5x (much closer to the TV). Recommended distance from your monitor to your eyes is 15-30". If you have a 24" monitor that means you're probably sitting closer to 1:1, on average. These day's it's not uncommon to see 27" or even larger monitors. So not only is the recommendation not equivalent, in practice it's even worse, generally

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I gotta say you're wrong. A curved monitor has much more tangible effects as a monitor simply due to how closely you sit to it. With that said there are situations which produce even more staggering results. Samsungs new 21:9 panel the CF791 produces not only excellent picture, but due to its width and curvature produces a much more immersive effect. The unfortunate take-away is that there is virtually no content for 21:9 and as such it's only suited for gaming due to the poor OS scaling. But god damn is ga

      • So you've got to say I'm wrong by repeating what I said with different words, and then tacking on a lengthy ramble about how great one specific desktop monitor is as if I hadn't started my own post off with the words "Curved monitors do make sense for the desktop PC"?
    • Actually, they don't make sense for upclose viewing either. At no point is the field of view for a movie or game or etc. taking a curved screen into account, and so at no point should the screen be curved. If you want "immersive" go buy a VR headset with a high end PC. They're pretty cool if you can afford the price tag. On the other had the only reason curved screens exist is because the industry figured out how to relatively cheaply curve a production screen, and they decided to see if it would sell just
      • Sorry, but no. Depending upon the work you're doing, curved monitors can in fact be noticeably better on the desktop. Not for *every* purpose for which you might use your desktop, necessarily, but for many purposes.
    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
      The main problem is the curvature not being adjustable. I would like a 50 inch UHDTV as a monitor instead of two 20 inch ones next to each other, but even for a curved one, if I sit 2 feet away from it, it'll be hard to see the edges.
    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @05:22AM (#53928145)

      Curved monitors do make sense for the desktop PC, where you're sitting very close to the screen.

      But does it really? What benefit do curved monitors give? I was told "the whole the screen is more evenly at the same distance from your eyes". But what I heard was "the screen is laid out in an unexpected and distorted way that screws with your brain".

      Seriously look at the history of curved images. They were all designed to completely trick the brain into creating an immerse environment. How does that help when you for example need to create a drawing, edit a word document, or god forbid try and correct lens distortion effects in a photograph?

      I could see it maybe making sense for games, but even then I'd probably suggest making a jump straight to a headset.

      • What benefit do curved monitors give? I was told "the whole the screen is more evenly at the same distance from your eyes". But what I heard was "the screen is laid out in an unexpected and distorted way that screws with your brain"

        Once you need reading glasses you will suddenly understand the value in having the screen more evenly at the same distance from your eyes. Today I accomplish this by carefully positioning my multiple monitors. At some point I probably will replace them all with a larger curved QHD display.

      • by muffen ( 321442 )

        But does it really? What benefit do curved monitors give? I was told "the whole the screen is more evenly at the same distance from your eyes". But what I heard was "the screen is laid out in an unexpected and distorted way that screws with your brain".

        It absolutely makes sense. I bought one for my home-office (35" curved) and I always work in multiple windows simultaneously. The curved monitor has made this so much easier, I don't have to turn my head and feel I'm getting a better overview on the curved m

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @08:59PM (#53926831)

    I have a curved ultra-wide monitor, and I like the curvature -- I think it looks better than the same sized flat monitor I use at work when I look to the edges of the screen.

    But sit much closer to my monitor than I do to my TV.

    However, if I had a 4K TV and sat close enough to it to see an advantage in 4K (4.5 - 7 feet for a 55" TV [crutchfield.com]), then maybe I'd see a similar advantage with a TV.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Distance doesn't matter. It's all down to how many degrees of your vision that the screen takes up.

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        Distance doesn't matter. It's all down to how many degrees of your vision that the screen takes up.

        Isn't that dictated by distance + screen size?

      • Distance doesn't matter. It's all down to how many degrees of your vision that the screen takes up.

        Yes it does. In order to have the same effect of the curvature, a screen at 10 feet has to have much more curvature at 10 feet that 2 feet, no matter how much of your FOV it occupies.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Distance doesn't matter. It's all down to how many degrees of your vision that the screen takes up.

        That makes as much sense as saying it's all down to the area of the rectangle, the length doesn't matter. Field of vision (degrees) is a function of screen size and distance just like area is a function of length and width. Most of us sit way closer to the monitor than the TV, not just absolutely speaking but relative to the size. I just did a quick measurement and found I sit about 60cm away from a 28" monitor. That means I should sit 120cm from a 55" TV or 240cm away from a 110" TV for the same field of v

    • I have a curved ultra-wide monitor, and I like the curvature

      As a matter of personal interest what do you do on the monitor? I used one briefly and found it was horrible when doing anything like drawing, graphic design, photo editing, etc. It seemed to mess with the perspective.

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        I have a curved ultra-wide monitor, and I like the curvature

        As a matter of personal interest what do you do on the monitor? I used one briefly and found it was horrible when doing anything like drawing, graphic design, photo editing, etc. It seemed to mess with the perspective.

        Coding mostly, editor/IDE in the middle, debug output/IDE errors window on the right, browser window with docs on the left. With my laptop display open and used for email/Hipchat. I try to keep functions relatively short so they almost always fit within the vertical space of the monitor.

  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @08:59PM (#53926833)
    This title is not an exception.
  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @08:59PM (#53926837)

    I had the benefit of being able to do a home trial of Samsung's higher end 65" 4K HDR displays for my living room. Other than the curved thing, it's my understanding that the KS9000 is pretty much the same as the KS9500. I tried them both for a week, feed them both 1080p, 4k, 4k HDR and noticed no real difference in terms of quality. I didn't care for the curve, but it didn't detract from the image....and I ended up purchasing the non-curved variant.

    So for me, there was no benefit of one over the other and I preferred the aesthetics of the flat screen.

    Best,

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @09:01PM (#53926841)

    ... all TVs were curved.

    They also had rounded corners. Maybe the next hot thing will be TVs that have corners with acute angles.

    • by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @09:08PM (#53926871)
      I'm waiting for CRTs to make a comeback. Along with vinyl.
      Some of the really trendy people will have modified oscilloscopes and wax cylinders.
      • by glitch! ( 57276 )

        Some of the really trendy people will have modified oscilloscopes...

        Vectors, baby! And there is the visual "richness" of a classic movie displayed on an electrostatic screen, a richness that magnets just can't deliver!

      • CRTs have good black levels. This is important when watching a movie in a dark room. I have a plasma TV (bought a plasma because its black levels should be better than those of a LCD for a similar price) and its black levels are still worse than CRT. I have a CRT computer monitor so when I go watch TV I immediately notice the non-black black color.

    • You were lucky to have a curved TV! We used to have a round TV with 2 lines of resolution. The refresh rate was 1 frame per day. It would take us an entire lifetime to watch a 30 minute show!
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Dude, I think you were watching your mailbox.

    • And we had test patterns! I was watching the opening scene of the original Poltergeist the other day and realized that many folks today would have no idea why the national anthem was playing or why there was only static on the TV picture. Ah, how I miss the good ole days!
    • Needs a drop shadow, too.
  • by haemish ( 28576 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @09:11PM (#53926877)

    I've had one curved TV, and it was very nice when my head was in the sweet spot at the center of curvature, but anywhere else, meh. Monitors are another thing: I've got one of the 34" Samsung monitors, whose curvature is set for a good reading distance, and it's an awesome experience. I now find extended periods with flat monitors to be awful.

    • I have a 55" 4K LG monitor that I use for my PC. I sit slightly more than one arm's length away from the screen. I think the curvature adds something to it, but I can't say for sure because I'm not about to test it by comparing it to a flat 55" 4K monitor. Mainly I think the curvature is a currently-fashionable design aesthetic for screens.
    • A quick google tells me it's a 21:9 ultra-wide. What's it like in portrait? Is it even possible to swivel into portrait mode?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the one person who sits close to the TV right at the center, a curved TV reduces the distortion slightly and helps improve the uniformity of screen brightness. For someone watching the TV significantly off-center, the curvature of the screen makes those problem worse on one side of the image.

  • TV make you dumb, regardless of its curvature.
  • by chromaexcursion ( 2047080 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @09:43PM (#53927029)
    Stupid marketing ploy.
    As a video engineer all I can do is shake my head at the stupidity.
    • Stupid marketing ploy. As a video engineer all I can do is shake my head at the stupidity.

      This is Television, and this is America.Our specialty is making stupid people and things famous.

  • I don't see the allure. I get the idea, but the effect is so small it's not worth it to me. That and I was already completely content sitting on the far left/right side of a screen.
  • People keep saying, "They really only make a difference up close." What is up close? In my media room the 55" 1080P TV is EXACLTY 8' 6" from my eyeballs when I am in the couch. Would I see a difference upgrading to a 4k, curved TV? Yes, I know I would see the 4k. I am wondering about the curve, at the distance.
  • I didn't even like the curved screen in theaters like at Arclight's Dome in Hollyw(oo/e(e/ir))d [arclightcinemas.com]! :P

  • of course the curved screen looked improper, it wasn't fed with a $1500 braided Monster video cable with iridium plated plugs, delivering crisply delineated zereos and ones ensuring cozy comforting pastels and incendiary unsaturated colors

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday February 24, 2017 @11:43PM (#53927475)
    It's for manufacturing tolerances and component rigidity. A curved surface is more rigid, especially if it has a double-curve. Back when HDTVs had CCFL backlights and were 2-3 inches thick, the extra thickness helped to stiffen them. Just like an I-beam. The sole purpose of the middle section of an I-beam is to separate the two ends by as much distance as possible. The more you can separate them, the more the beam can resist bending moments and the more rigid it is.

    But as we moved to LED backlights and HDTVs became thinner, the separation between the front and back halves became smaller and they started to lose this rigidity. When you take something very big and flat and make it thin, it loses its rigidity. It wants to flop over - just like a sheet of paper. Manufacturers wanted to make the TVs thinner, but didn't want the top half flopping over. One answer is to add thick metal stiffeners, but that adds weight. Another answer is add a slight curve. When you do that, part of the bending moment trying to flop the top over gets converted into compressive stresses in the curved parts, and the panel is easily able to resist flopping over.
    • That's a crappy reason. When I pay a lot of money for the TV, I would gladly pay $100 more to get a thicker and stronger case (and it should not cost that much to make it thicker and stronger).

    • Manufacturers wanted to make the TVs thinner, but didn't want the top half flopping over.

      This post deserves its +5 moderation for this sentence alone. The mental image it summons up makes me giggle. Pair it with an Abbot and Costello routine trying to prevent the top half from flopping over for even more giggles.

      I tend to agree that the mechanics of the situation have made the curve attractive to manufacturers. It'd be different if all large screens were wall mounted, and the ISO mount was something like a bar along the top instead of the rectangle in the middle. As it is, with a large perc

  • Before you buy a curved TV, please read this detailed and thoughtful review by a consumer electronics viewer's wife of the Samsung curved TV:

    I hate it so much [theverge.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if you put 3d content on a curved tv, what do you get??

    glare from every angle and a headache.

  • by xlsior ( 524145 )
    It's a questionable benefit for whoever gets to sit at the 'perfect' spot directly in front of it, but a definite downgrade for all other seats in the room who will all get more image distortion and weird reflections. All things being equal, personally I'd pay extra NOT to have a curved screen.
  • But only if you're watching HD-DVDs in active-shutter 3D.

  • How many people are in the room with you - or do you always watch by yourself? How close are people to the center of curvature? If you're at too much of an angle the image along the closer edge will be at even more of an angle and hard to see. Also, the floor sample I've seen appears to have a radius of curvature of about 8' (I didn't measure it, though) - if you're much further then flat might be better anyway.

    IMAX is more immersive because it subtends a larger viewing angle; if you sat 3' from your curved
  • Steer away away... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Saturday February 25, 2017 @04:11AM (#53928049)

    My current TV is a 55" flatscreen that has been serving me well... it serves me even better now that I disabled the "smart tv" functions. xD

    Here's the thing though: the way it's set up in my living room works well because it's parallel to the balcony. Unless the curved TV is made of some magical material, it'll probably reflect more light than the current setup. And no, I wouldn't trade my glossy screen for a matte one. :P

    That's all, of course, not even considering price difference. My ideal TV would be a big one without any of the extra frills that the TV industry came up in the past... what? 10 years? I ended up buying a 3D smart TV because it was in promotion and it came with a second 32" TV free, which was just perfect for my needs. What I really wanted though was a big screen that had enough ports on the back with fullHD resolution and good enough quality. That's it.

    No need for curve, no need for 3D, no need for crappy smart TV software that's both insecure and never updated, no need for embedded camera, voice commands, remote control that acts like a mouse... none of that crap.

    Honestly, I also don't need 4K or HDR, nor I'll be paying the extra price that comes with those features. I feel like I already pushed things a bit by wanting a fullHD TV when I already had a regular HD 720p TV, but since I'm using it as a computer monitor at times I thought it was still justifiable.

    Truth of the matter is that TV manufacturers have to keep pushing there extraneous features because they need to keep selling units. And hey, it's fine if it makes a difference for you, but I really don't care about those things at all.

    I imagine that the next TV I'll buy will have to probably be like a magnetic flexible sheet that you can carry around and throw in whatever room you wanted too. That is, of course, if my current TV lasts that long, which it probably won't. Oh well.

  • well Sir, we have this new (shiny) CURVED tv to sell you now, see ITS CURVED! How cool is that! Now just step over here to the register....

  • the screen made it easier to ship large TVs with less breakage, a great benefit for the manufacturer. But the marketing folks have educated me properly now- it makes the picture better! Doh!

  • The TV industry is hurting, they long for the glory days when everyone wanted to trade their old 20" SD CRT TV for a fancy new 43" HD LCD. Those were great times for the TV industry. Unfortunately for them, HD TVs have hit saturation, and there just isn't the desire for everyone to go out and replace their perfectly good HD TV with whatever today's gimmick is. We've seen 3D TVs, 4 colour pixels, Curved screens, apps, apps, and more apps, and now 4K. Nobody is rushing out to replace their TV for any of these

  • >"The only real image-quality benefit I saw to the curve was a reduction in reflections in some cases. "

    Sorry. In ALL cases, the curved screen creates MORE glare and that glare moves rapidly with even the slightest head movement resulting in HUGE distractions. Curved screens for TV's are 100% worse than even a gimmick. They were from the start.

    Now, if you have a curved COMPUTER MONITOR ,where you are sitting just a foot from it and there is some wrap around, that is different and can be useful. But f

  • ...because there's nothing like adding distortion to content collected on a flat film plane.

  • Curved displays have one use: building an immersive cockpit environment for games. Flight simulators, racing simulators, and giant robot games could benefit from 210 degrees of curved display. Oh, and that farming simulator where you can drive the tractors and combines. There isn't much else that does. Of course they're only useful if you can afford enough of them. The large format ones tend to have a radius of 13 to 16 feet, requiring so many to surround your cockpit and so many stacked vertically to

  • The manufacturers can't even agree on which curvature is better, concave or convex (although most are concave now).
    If you live on your own and watching TV is purely a solitary experience, or maybe with one other person, a curved TV can be OK, but if you're getting a few friends over to watch a movie or a sports game, only the person in the centre will have a decent view.

    For a monitor, on the other hand, you're sitting on your lonesome, right in the sweet spot and a curved monitor can be great for some tasks

  • Even if you're the sole viewer it is practically useless. Screen sizes are too small for it to be of any real benefit. Just like 4k. Yeah, I said it. Your retinas are no better, so 4k's useless to you, too. :P

  • Curved screens can have absolutely horrible reflection. I know, I own one. But I also own one because it was CHEAPER than the flat version.

    I wouldn't buy a curved screen unless you plan to sit on a table (what I do) and you get an incredibly good deal on it (because of its curved weakness).

    While two years ago, it was true that curved screens carried a slight premium, people don't want them anymore, so I find them to be priced less. You can do a lot more things with a flat screen (e.g. better for wa

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